Always on the cutting edge of all things hemp, Manitoba Harvest has released the world’s first 100% water soluble hemp protein concentrate. What does this mean? Most hemp protein powders tend to lend a slightly gritty or sandy taste to smoothies. You can’t simply blend them with water for a quick protein boost or recovery drink. But the Hemp Pro 70 hemp protein powders solve this issue.
That isn’t to say there isn’t a place in this world for all of the hemp protein powders. In fact, I had the opportunity to taste-test a range of Manitoba Harvest hemp protein powders, and was quite surprised at the different tastes and virtues they each possessed. They are all pretty basic, made simply from hemp seeds, but as you can see by looking at the pictures, these are completely different products.
Note that my picture above shows the old packaging, but the product within is still the same.
Manitoba Harvest Pure Hemp Protein Powders
Hemp Pro 70 (70% protein)
The newer kid on the block, this wonder hemp protein concentrate really does perform as advertised. To taste this is the naturally “sweetest” of the three flagship hemp protein powders. I put that in quotes, as this isn’t a sugary protein powder mix, it is just the hemp and natural plant extracts. But it wasn’t bitter, as I had expected. In fact, it had a very mild sweetness that melded nicely in my smoothies rather than overwhelming in any way. Also, it was palatable on its own, just shaken with water.
As for the texture, there is no dominating grit, just a nice smooth powder that really does blend in! I have been taste-testing quite a few protein powders lately, and this is one of my favorites. It even has a better feel and taste than brown rice protein, which tends to be very thick and powdery.
Beyond smoothies, I found that Hemp Pro 70 works wonderfully as a healthy thickener in salad dressings. It changes the taste slightly, but the consistency is virtually seamless.
Hemp Pro 50 (50% protein)
Though it is the middle of the pack in terms of protein content, this version was the grittiest of the three primary hemp protein powders. I still didn’t find it off-putting, but it won’t be as soluble in water (or dressings) as the Hemp Pro 70. It was the second in line in sweetness, beginning to taste a bit more like hemp seeds than the Hemp Pro 70. Less protein, rougher texture, not as sweet, you might be wondering “Why choose this one over the Hemp Pro 70?”
As mentioned, each variety has virtues. The Hemp Pro 50 is perfect for those who want a little more balance and don’t have high protein requirements. The lower protein is offset with some extra fiber and a higher quantity of Omega-3’s (1200 mg per serving, compared to 800 mg per serving in the Hemp Pro 70 and 600 mg in the Hemp & Fiber). Plus, Hemp Pro 50 is cold milled; a process which some people may prefer.
The name of this one pretty much gives away its core benefits: it’s certified organic and higher in fiber (14 grams per serving!). Surprisingly, this protein powder is in the middle ground in terms of texture. It’s finer than the Hemp Pro 50, but just a bit coarser than the Hemp Pro 70. However, of the three base hemp protein powders, it tastes the most genuinely like hemp seeds. Though my taste buds initially preferred the sweeter Hemp Pro 70, there was something comforting about the natural seedy taste of the Fiber Protein Powder.
Again, it is perfect for smoothies. But due to the seedier taste and lack of solubility, it won’t perform as well when simply mixed with water or milk beverage. Nonetheless, it will probably still work nicely as a thickener in things such as salad dressings.
Keep in mind that these hemp protein powders should be used raw. Heating them may destroy some of those wonderful Omega3 fatty acids. They should be fine when added to your morning hot cereal once cooked. However, avoid adding these hemp protein powders to anything before they head to the stove or oven.
For myself, the Hemp Pro 70 has already proven insanely useful; it is all but gone! However, I am also eager to incorporate more of the Organic Hemp & Fiber; I like that it is organic, a bit closer to its natural state, and well rounded in nutrition.
Manitoba Harvest Flavored Hemp Protein Powders
Thus far, I’ve trialed the Organic Dark Chocolate and Organic Vanilla Hemp Protein Powders, which seem to be made from a base of the Hemp Pro Fiber protein powder. They each contain a nice little dose of fiber (8 grams) along with the protein (10 to 11 grams) and Omega-3’s (600 to 700mg).
Curious, I tasted just a bit of this protein powder straight. It was actually quite pleasant; lightly sweet, nutty, and gently vanilla in flavor.
I tested it first just mixed with milk beverage. Unfortunately, it failed to mix in well, quickly sinking to the bottom of my beverage after each stir. The flavor was good, but I really couldn’t taste the vanilla as much as I wanted.
On the second go, I went the smoothie route. Jackpot! I blended 1 frozen banana (broken into chunks) with ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk and ¼ cup of the Vanilla protein powder. It was a delicious post-workout reward with a great recovery ration (4 carbs to 1 protein). The banana actually helped to enhance the vanilla flavor and assisted with distributing the hemp powder.
When tasted straight, the dark chocolate and hemp flavors in this protein powder didn’t quite meld, but in smoothie form, they were excellent. I followed my basic smoothie formula above, but used unsweetened coconut milk beverage instead of almond milk.
The beverage had a very nice, gentle chocolate flavor that was indeed on the dark chocolate side, but did not overwhelm. It was slightly sweet, but not too sweet, making it an excellent post workout drink. I don’t know about you, but my taste buds tend to be more sensitive after a good bout of exercise. If I were craving a sweeter shake, then I would blend in 1 softened date.
Like the vanilla, there was that slight granular consistency, but it was very mild in the smoothie, and to be expected with natural hemp protein powders. This variety was my husband’s top pick, but it may have helped that he cocoa masked the green color.
To note, I love that these hemp protein powders use just a bit of coconut sugar instead of stevia. Though I do use a dash of stevia from time to time, I find it overwhelming in most brands of protein powders. Manitoba Harvest provides a nice clean and natural sweetness.
The Facts on Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powders
Certifications: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powders are Non-GMO Verified and Certified Kosher Parve. Select varieties are Certified Organic.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powders are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian. Select varieties are paleo. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Manitoba Harvest website at manitobaharvest.com.